Dec 26, 2018Smith served vegetable council with distinction, confidence
Dave Smith retired as executive director of the Michigan Vegetable Council (MVC) on March 31, 2018. Greg Bird was selected as his successor and the MVC’s office was moved to Mason, Michigan.
Dave was recognized during the 2018 Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO.
Dave began his career with the MVC in July 1998, replacing Byron Carpenter. He had served on the MVC board of directors from 1985 to 1991, including a year as president, while vegetable farming in the Erie area. Prior to returning to the farm, Dave was employed by the St. Paul Bank for Cooperatives from 1973 to 1983.
Smith is a graduate of Michigan State University (MSU) earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1969 and an M.B.A. degree in food marketing management in 1971. He worked in the Department of Agricultural Economics at MSU from 1971 to 1973 as an analyst and marketing specialist, working with Don Ricks.
Dave and Sue Lamoureaux Smith were married in 1968. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in September of this year. The Smiths have three adult children and nine grandchildren. Sue and Dave are members of the Erie United Methodist Church.
During Dave’s career as executive director of the MVC, he played a key role in merging the annual fruit and vegetable industries education program and trade show into the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO. Dave’s role in planning, coordinating and managing the EXPO continued his entire career with the MVC. This annual event now attracts 4,000 guests, includes 70 educational sessions, hosts 450 exhibitors, and creates an opportunity for special events, receptions and valuable networking. The EXPO is the largest agricultural specialty crop event in the eastern U.S.
The MVC has long made grants to support vegetable crop research and grower education. While this support continues, it was expanded in 2003 with the establishment of an endowed research and education fund. Dave was extensively involved in getting this fund started. The first research grants were made from the endowed fund in 2008.
Dave has also coordinated the council’s efforts to help secure special grant funding for vegetable crop research and Extension. These efforts have resulted in more than $2 million in funding for crop research at MSU.
Smith’s work as executive director of the MVC cut across the complete scope of activities for an agricultural commodity group. His primary responsibilities included interacting with the MVC board of directors, farmers, state and federal agencies, university professors and staff, legislators, marketers, suppliers, consultants, policy makers and other commodity groups.
As one commodity executive said, “Dave represented the voice of the Michigan vegetable industry with distinction and confidence, always striving to be sure the vegetable industry’s interests were known.”
Dave and Sue Smith will continue residing in Erie, Michigan, being attentive parents and grandparents. Dave remains active with the Monroe County Farm Bureau and with his church. The Smiths have already begun retirement travel to places where their children have settled.
On behalf of the Michigan Vegetable Council, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to Dave Smith for his 20 years of dedicated service to the council and Michigan agriculture. We wish him well in retirement. Additionally, we extend our best wishes and thanks to Sue Smith for her willingness to provide valuable help at the EXPO as well her assistance over the years in running the home office of the council.